Karnataka

Three districts report outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease

At a time when people are facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the cattle population in the State too is facing a threat as there has been an outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in a few villages.

The disease has been reported from Chickballapur, Bengaluru Urban, and Ramanagaram districts so far.

FMD is a serious viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals and can even be fatal. It is a nightmare for farmers as it can cause permanent damage to the health system of cattle and affect the financial viability of animal husbandry.

Veterinarians working at the grassroot level blame this for the State missing out on previous round of FMD vaccination.

“Vaccination against FMD is strictly carried out once in six months to prevent the outbreak of the viral disease. But the previous round of vaccination scheduled sometime in October 2020 could not be carried out due to COVID-19 pandemic then,” said a veterinary doctor.

Situation under control

State Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services Director Shivaram B.N. said that the situation was under control.

Pointing out that FMD vaccination drive is purely a Central government programme, he admitted that the previous round could not be taken up because of COVID-19. However, the next round of vaccination is scheduled sometime in July, he pointed out.

“But as an immediate measure, we have permitted deputy directors of all the affected districts to procure the vaccine from private vendors and ensure that cattle population is vaccinated against FMD,” he said.

10 cows affected

Meanwhile, in Bannikuppe village of Ramanagaram district, over 10 cows are believed to have been infected by FMD according to B.G. Sathish, secretary of the milk producers’ co-operative society of the village.

“Last year, there was no serious incidence of FMD in our village. But this time, due to the delay in cattle vaccination programme, the FMD has infected at least 10 cows in the village,” he said.

“We have also been hearing that cattle population in several neighbouring villages have been affected by FMD,” he said.

Improper vaccination drive

Noted veterinary expert and former vice-chancellor of Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University Dr. R. N. Srinivas Gowda observed that the present outbreak was mainly due to improper vaccination drive and inadequate supply of vaccine.

While stressing the need for taking up strict vaccination drive every six months against FMD, he said farmers should shun inhibition and allow the vaccination staff to enter their premises in the interest of protection of their cattle.

Explaining that FMD can cause serious harm to cattle if ignored, he said the disease could damage the health system of cattle leading to decrease in milk yield as well as fertility due to hormonal change.

He said it was important for farmers to ensure biosafety of their cattle besides their nutritional and health management to protect them from FMD.

Pointing out that there are 21 strains of virus related to FMD, he said there was a dire need to keep a close watch on their spread to know which of them was predominant in a bid to effectively tackle the situation.


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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 8:44:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/three-districts-report-outbreak-of-foot-and-mouth-disease/article34721783.ece

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